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    Looking for young women athletes who might be lurking in this exchange!
    Diane K Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP posted:
    How many members of this exchange think that incontinence only happens to older people? If you are young, female and involved in a strenuous athletic program, there's a pretty good chance that you leak urine on a regular basis. And if you are one of those young, female, athletes, do you imagine that you are the only one with this issue? Have you ever told anyone about it? Why don't you share your story with others in this exchange.

    Young women athletes are at high risk for stress urinary incontinence (or stress UI), especially when they participate in high impact sports. Stress UI is involuntary or unwanted urine leakage when laughing, coughing or on effort or when exercising.

    In a 2005 study* of high school and college age female athletes in the Midwest, 28% had experienced symptoms of SUI while playing sports, exercising, coughing, walking to the bathroom, running, sneezing, jumping, hearing running water, or while weight lifting.
    • Twenty-five percent of the study participants reported that they had urine leakage 2-4 times each month and 8% reported having urine leakage 2 to 4 times per week.

    • The amount of leakage ranged from dampness or drops to small amounts of wetness.

    • Sixteen percent said that the leakage had a negative impact on their social lives, sports and exercise.

    • Eight percent avoided hobbies, social activities, sports and exercise because of the stress UI.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise from the study is that 91% of the participants had never heard of pelvic floor muscle exercises (sometimes called Kegel exercises) but most said they would try them if they knew the correct way to do Kegels.

    The study also revealed that 92% of the participants with stress UI had hidden their problem and not told anyone about it—not a friend, a parent or their doctor, and none had ever sought professional treatment.

    If you are a young female athlete who leaks urine during any kind of vigorous activity or when you exercise, please add Kegel exercises to your regular workouts and make them a part of your daily routine. Pelvic floor muscle exercise has been shown to reduce or eliminate stress UI in many women. Here's how to do them correctly:

    Kegel Quick Start Tip Sheet

    *Study conducted by Carrie Carls, RN, BSN, CWOCN at Passavant Area Hospital, Jacksonville, Illinois and presented at the Society of Urology Nurses and Associates (SUNA), 36th Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, October 2005.
    whitedogx1 responded:
    im 15 years old & i play basketball & softball. i hv tried a few medications, bt none seem 2 b really working well w/out horrible side effects. i hv nt tried Kegel workouts because i am nt sure they work & i feel silly doing them, even in private, because i dnt think they work. any suggestions?
    Louise_WebMD_Staff replied to whitedogx1's response:
    They do work. Really. Yes, you feel silly, but they work.

    Tip--do them while sitting in a really boring class at school. (once you get the hang of it in private and don't make faces.) No one can tell and you have at least something diverting and yet useful to do.
    Diane K Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP replied to whitedogx1's response:
    I am not sure what you are asking as you do not describe your symptoms?
    Louise_WebMD_Staff replied to Diane K Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP's response:
    I think she is having some stress incontinence because of her sports and wants to know:

    1.Do kegel exercises really work?
    2. How do you do them without feeling silly?
    Diane K Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP replied to whitedogx1's response:
    Kegels really work but you need to make sure you are contracting the correct muscle as some of the research in these exercises says that woman are not really "squeezing" the right muscle. If you are tightening and contracting the right muscle, no one should see you doing it so you will not feel silly. The muscle is inside your body, supporting your bladder.

    You should feel your vagina lift up and your rectum pull in. Your buttocks or gluteal muscles should not move so you are not lifting your body and your stomach should not move.
    JustAMomTo3 responded:
    My daughter is 7 and loves to participate in every sport made available to her including football, wrestling, running up to 5k races and many others. Does it make a difference that she is not pushed to compete and only participates for the fun of it with little or no regard to competition? Should I bring this subject up to her? Why are athletes at more risk than other people?

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    For more information, visit Diane Newman's website